The highways and by-ways, humps and hollows, faces and feet of this place make up its length, breadth, and height. For a fourth dimension
you need its past. You can't escape it anyhow. What I am doing at this moment is woven upon the millions of moments that preceded it.
The present is only a convention. The future is flowing directly into the past. Think of the future. Your only clue is the past.
History provides the co-ordinates of perspective, the prescriptions for prudence. It is a stabilizing gyroscope, and the speculator's data-bank.
There is no other springboard for even "one small step" ahead. The stars don't tell the future. We can't even behold their present. Distance
decrees that we view their pre-historic sparkle. In some places, like Canterbury or Gettysburg, Wittenberg or Assisi, interest is polarised in
some great luminary. No such distraction distorts our perception as we pause in the Ulsterheart, turn right about, raise our research
binoculars, and peer back across the millennia of sward, swain, and saga to the ice. But when the specimen under scrutiny happens to be
the nape of an Atlantic island the findings could be representative. Summer 1942, I was stung by a wasp at Martray, tended by a village
chemist, and camped in Kerog. Eighteen years later I bedded down in Richmond, and for a decade explored Kerog's hills and homes,
my antennae always alert for tremors of its past. Then, from 1970 till 1980, all my leisure hours and weeks of rec-
reation were absorbed seeking sources, deciphering data, collating coverage, detecting drama, and articulating antiquities to tell their tidings.
Some kindly souls, unaware that the historian uses written records, commiserated with me about my late arrival. "If only you had come here
when me ould Aunt Sarah Jane was on the go, she cud'av towld y'everything." I met plenty dear old Sarah Janes who could not recollect their
own grandparents or the name of the Rector in their parents' early days. I loved their lore, but it didn't pre-date the Boer War.
In 1980, I sounded the grey-heads, but none had heard of the Feddan fracas, that seismic convulsion that their own great-grandparents had
lived through. When I disclosed that I had discovered and read a full description of that 1827 crisis, one simple smiler decreed
"Sure, that's cheating!" Apparently history should be some sort of extempore oracle oozing spontaneously from the cerebrum of a guru.
Not so Dr. George Gillespie. He had his ears tuned in to pulsations from the Ulsterheart three decades before me. His useful archives he put
at my disposal, and laced them with relevant and often exhilarating anecdotes. J.R.M. Crooks gave me free access to Diocesan records.
Dr. G.O. Simms gave me his "Leslie" on indefinite loan. Harry and Rebecca Lillie aided and abetted my hunting in Armagh Library, and the
staff of the Ulster Public Record Office were helpful and patient. The custodians of the Courier, Constitution, and Reporter files were ever
co-operative. If, in these pages, I have poised a mirror for the pilgrims of the past, it is thanks to them and a host of others for, like the local
bibliophiles I pestered in Ulster, Wales, Cornwall, and remotest Brittany. Most of all, Joan, Sharon, Clyde, and Gladys who were obliged to
enjoy their vacations in what were my laboratories. I laid down my pen on Ascension Thursday 1981. Two years on, Donna Reid Hotaling,
that prima donna of so much Ulster-American liaison, suggested Trans-Atlantic publications for this cardiogram of an ancient Irish habitation.
C. Brett Ingram